Country pub gateway to Waikaremoana

5:00 AM Saturday April 8, 2017 True Commercial

Frasertown Tavern is poised to cash in as Central North island eco-tourism trails expand. Photo / Supplied

A country pub strategically located at the gateway to one of New Zealand’s most remote eco-tourist attractions is now on the market.

The Frasertown Tavern, just west of Wairoa in the Central North Island, is a half-hour drive to the stunning and wildly remote Lake Waikaremoana, which plays host to a raft of mountain walks, mountain biking tracks, caving, fishing, and aquatic activities.

As the last hospitality outlet before Lake Waikaremoana from the eastern side, the Frasertown Tavern straddles the southern boundary of the Poverty Bay region and northern-most part of Hawke’s Bay.

The pub consists of two bars — one used daily by locals and passing tourists, and the other a function venue capable of serving up to 120 people standing, or 80 patrons in a seated format. Traditional pub fare such as fish and chips, steak and chips, hamburgers, and deep fried foodstuffs are prepared from a commercial-grade kitchen and large chiller unit located between the two bars.

The Frasertown Tavern land, buildings and business are being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Gisborne, with tenders closing on April 20.

Bayleys Gisborne salesperson, Simon Bousfield, says the Frasertown Tavern is perfectly positioned to piggyback off the growing number of tourists visiting Lake Waikaremoana further along State Highway 38.

The Frasertown Tavern property encompasses 3694sq m of land. At the rear of the main bar building is a three-bedroom owner or manager’s residence. The bar operates as a ‘freehouse’ with no contractual brewery supply contracts — enabling it to stock all mainstream beer brands on tap and in bottle format.

Chattels included in the sale include all bar leaners, tables, chairs, back-bar refrigeration units, pool table, and a van for transporting patrons to and from the venue.

“As New Zealand’s established walks like the Milford Track, Routeburn Track, and more recently the Tongariro Crossing, have become more ‘mainstream’, new and lesser-frequented destinations have come to the fore. Among those is the Lake Waikaremoana array of hiking tracks,” Bousfield says.

“The destination also benefits from the pristine waters of the lake making it suitable for non-motorised boating activities such as kayaking and trout fishing.

True Commercial - Frasertown Tavern - interior front bar .jpg

Chattels include bar leaners, tables, chairs, refrigeration units, pool table, and a van for transporting patrons. Photo / Supplied

“Country pubs linked to locations with high tourist visitor numbers have prospered over the past decade. Location such as the Duke of Marlborough in Russell, the Puketapu Tavern just out of Napier, the Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara on the West Coast, and the legendary Cardrona Hotel near Wanaka, have all become destinations intricately associated with nearby eco-tourism activities such as mountain track walking or trail cycling.

“The current configuration of the Frasertown Tavern would allow, subject to necessary local council building consents, for the addition of at least two accommodation units in what is currently under-utilised garaging space,” Bousfield says.

“The first of these spaces is in a concrete block structure at the rear of the pub, while the second development potential could see the comparatively straightforward conversion of a large and relatively new vehicle and storage shed into a two-bedroom dwelling.”

Bousfield says that in addition to the potential for developing the Frasertown Tavern’s fixed accommodation amenities, there is also the potential to cater to the mobile home and campervan sector of the tourism market.

“Adjacent to the tavern is a large, flat, grassed section with one existing electrical connection capable of servicing two vehicles simultaneously. With ample land available, an expansion of the self-contained and freedom camping amenities could service up to 12 vehicles and the occupants,” he says.

“While motorhome and freedom camping vehicles have their own in-built cooking amenities, tourism activity analysis has shown that, when linked to the likes of a pub, the occupants preferred to spend time getting to know the locals over a beer or wine rather than remaining within vehicle confines — thereby driving additional food and beverage revenues back to the business.

“At present the land is used to host an array of country pub events and functions — from the local wood chopping finals through to the weigh-in station for the annual pig hunting weigh in — the sort of events which cement country pubs into the communities which they serve.

 “As the only licensed hospitality entity between Wairoa and Lake Waikaremoana, the Frasertown Tavern’s back bar is regularly booked for the likes of wedding anniversaries, milestone birthday parties, sports and social club gatherings, and other community events,” Bousfield says.